This is a question I hear more often than you would believe. It has become so common you would be amazed at the number of parents that actually think there is nothing wrong with this phenomenon. This lack of motivation, ambition or interest in the world around them is generally chalked up to “teen blues” or “teen rebellion.”
In today’s society the average child spends 28 to 32 hours per week watching TV, movies, and playing video games. This is according to Nielsen’s ratings, the top group for the monitoring of family TV viewing.
In addition to these shocking numbers is the factor that children as young as 2 years of age are spending so much of their young lives in a hypnotic trance in front of the screen—an eight year high, according to Nielsen’s.
Allowing the next generation to waste their lives observing rather than having adventures is breeding a generation of real live zombies.
So the question becomes, “How do we turn this around?” The obvious answer would be to reduce the child’s time spent in front of the TV and encourage more active participation in outdoor activities.
Many parents will tell you that this is not always a simple or even possible task, due to time, money and transportation constraints. Add to this the fact that most kids by the early teens have such a TV habit that they, if it is abruptly taken away, are likely to revolt in unpleasant and unexpected ways.
So, what is the solution? How is it possible to restore to your child the natural curiosity in the world around him?
If you think back, you will recall a time when your child was curious and interested in his world. In this recollection is the answer to the resolving his lack of motivation.
Author and educator L. Ron Hubbard observed this phenomenon, and in the following quote provides answers that we can all easily apply with amazing results:
“…If you take an individual and make him play a musical instrument (as parents and schools do), his ability to play that instrument will not improve. We would first have to consult with him as to what his ambitions are. He would eventually at least have to agree with the fact that it is a good thing to play an instrument.
“Once in a while we find a bad boy. He cannot be put in school and has to be sent to a military school. They are going to force him in order to change him. Occasionally this bad boy is sent to a school which simply thinks the best way to handle such cases is to find something in which he is interested and allow him to do it. Such a school once existed in California and consecutively produced geniuses. The roster for World War II’s scientists practically marched from that particular school.
“…What actually happened was this. They took a boy with whom nobody got any results and said, ‘Isn’t there anything you would like to do?’ The boy said ‘No,’ and they answered, ‘Well, fuss around in the lab or grounds or something and someday you may make up your mind.’ The boy thought this over and decided that he wanted to be a chemist. Nobody ever sent him to a class and told him to crack a book, and nobody ever complained very much when he blew up something in the laboratory and the next thing you knew the boy was an excellent chemist. Nobody interrupted his desire to be a chemist. It existed then, and from that point on he was not himself interrupting his willingness to be a chemist. Educationally this is a very interesting point.
“…People will permit you to take things away from them if you do it gracefully and don’t upset their willingness too much. The way you make a greedy or selfish child is to make him, against his will, give up things to other children. You will eventually drive him into the only-one category. Parents usually never consult a child’s willingness. They consult his havingness, handle it and they have a spoilt child.
“People think persuasion works with children. It doesn’t. It’s communication that does the trick. You say, ‘Well, it’s time for you to go to bed now,’ and he says, ‘No.’ Don’t stay on the subject. Leave it alone and just talk about something else, ‘What did you do today?’ ‘Where?’ ‘How?’ ‘Oh, did you? Is that a fact?’ ‘Well, how about going to bed?’ and the answer will be ‘Okay.’
“One doesn’t have to use force. Go into communication with the child, and control follows this as inevitability. Omit control from the beginning when bringing up a child and he who looks to you for a lot of his direction and control is gypped. He thinks you don’t care about him.
“However, as in the case with the playing of musical instruments, learning of languages or the arts and abilities, consult the child’s willingness.”
—L. Ron Hubbard
Excerpted from Rehabilitation of Abilities
1 July 1957
I see the incredible results of applying the above daily, as this is a standard in the programs that we deliver here at Mojave Academy.
Here are some things you can do to help you to implement this:
- Write down some things you know your child likes to do.
- Write down some things you would like to get your child interested in.
- Sit down with your child and talk about some activities you could do that you both can agree on.
If you need any help, call me!
I encourage all of you to apply this information and watch the results. It may require some patience on your part as it depends upon the age of your child as to how quickly they will respond to this. And as always, feel free to contact me and let me know how it goes.
Yours for a better future,
Executive Director, Mojave Academy
Cheri Hall has been an educator for over 38 years and the Executive Director of the Mojave Academy for the past 14 years. Cheri’s love of children and dedication to helping them learn is an ongoing source of inspiration to those around her and to many in the educational field.
© 2009 Mojave Academy. All Rights Reserved. Grateful acknowledgement is made to L. Ron Hubbard library for permission to reproduce a selection from the copyrighted works of L. Ron Hubbard. Mojave Academy is licensed to use Applied ScholasticsTM educational services. Applied Scholastics and the Applied Scholastics open book design are trademarks and service marks owned by Association for Better Living and Education International and are used with its permission. Mojave Academy admits students of any race, color and national or ethnic origin.